There are few things I desire more in this world than to unmask secret societies and to find derivations of “concatenate” in unexpected places. Imagine my delight when I learned that FHS holds a small collection of records for the International Concatenated Order of Hoo-Hoo.
On this day in 1892, the International Concatenated Order of Hoo-Hoo, a fraternal society for men in the lumber industry, was founded in Gurdon, Arkansas. The Order owes its birth in large part to a train delay. As the story goes, Bolling Arthur Johnson, a journalist for Chicago’s Timberman trade newspaper; George K. Smith, secretary for the Southern Lumber Manufacturers Association in St. Louis; and three others arrived in Gurdon as a connection point. Journeying from the meeting of the Arkansas Yellow Pine Manufacturer’s Association held in Camden, the five men anticipated a short stop in Gurdon and then transit to other destinations. They learned the train would be delayed for seven hours and the men looked for ways to fill time.
Johnson and Smith sat on a lumber pile, eventually sharing thoughts on a unified lumber fraternity. Later, the two sought out the three other men, George Washington Schwartz, William Starr Mitchell and William Eddy Barns. In the lobby of Hotel Hall, the five discussed the feasibility of the fraternity, joined later by Ludolph O.E.A. Strauss of the Malvern Lumber Company in Gurdon.
As the Daily Siftings Herald reports, “In a nutshell, the men wanted to create a fraternity that would obtain the business interests of all lumber organizations in existence so that, in the ‘complex web of industry concerns,’ the fraternity’s fellowship and goodwill would trickle down to every timber organization — so they could all ‘bear the fruit of service to the industry.'”